The results of a recent survey performed by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) are showing positive signs for labor organizing among female professionals. The survey, which assessed the responses of 522 professional women compared to 482 male respondents, was designed to evaluate attitudes about unions, and reasons professionals would want to be represented by a union. In their attitudes toward unions, women differed
from their male counterparts in a number of ways.
First, professional women were more likely than their male colleagues to support having
a union at work; working conditions may be one reason why. While a majority of women were
satisfied with their working conditions, they reported lower rates of satisfaction than male
professionals and had a more pessimistic view of the situation facing their profession now and
into the future. In ranking specific aspects of their work, women reported lower levels of
satisfaction than men in 10 out of 11 categories.
Second, women expressed a greater need for fair and equal treatment at work and would
want a union that stood for fairness and equality. Thus, joining together to achieve fair and equal treatment in the workplace is likely to be an effective organizing message for professional
Finally, professional women were more likely than their male colleagues to believe that
having a stronger voice in decisions on the job was a convincing reason to have a union where
they work. Professional women were more likely to see the effectiveness of having a union that
could amplify their collective voices in negotiations with management.
The DPE survey results paint a very positive picture for labor as it seeks to reverse decades of declining numbers. Despite widespread political and corporate resistance to unions, sentiments towards collective bargaining and the labor movement give us reason to be optimistic and proactive in our organizing efforts.